Canal Street Online Manchester

Review: Circus of Books

Review: Circus of Books

With lockdown and the strange place, we find ourselves in, you may be longing for something incredibly feelgood to watch. Because let’s face it, right now the film Contagion just does not cut it. I think I may have found you the tonic to go with your best bottle of gin. 

Circus of Books is a brand-new documentary, which is quirky, funny and truly original. What’s more it has a story that needs telling. Karen and Barry Mason run a bookstore and they put their heart and soul into turning it into a profitable business, so that they can provide for their family and look after the staff that serve the local community. 

This is no ordinary book shop, the main bulk of the reading here is gay porn. And over the years, they have made a profit but the internet and different ways of getting hold of material like this means that the store has more stock than customers. 

What’s more this straight couple have kept the family business a secret from friends, family and their synagogue. So, we look back at how the Masons got here and they reveal snippets of information about their family and their views on society. Where this beautiful documentary excels, is when we explore Karen’s reaction to her son coming out. It is completely heartbreaking. 

The couple’s daughter Rachael directs this poignant and funny film and she covers many themes, including the devastating effect of AIDS, family values, religion, obscenity laws and the divisive nature of pornography. 

The film is in turns funny, truthful, perceptive and always highly watchable. The only flaw is that sometimes there are moments when Rachael Mason maybe tries to juggle too many ideas at once. 

But this documentary is of such high quality, you could imagine watching it at HOME on a Saturday night. Until that day comes, enjoy this film in your home because it will lift you during this rollercoaster of a time we are in at the minute.

Glenn Meads for Canal St Online

Circus of Books is on Netflix. Watch the trailer here:   

Published: 2-May-2020 (5865)

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